While we try to not have too many activities with the wee ones, their inevitable aging means two things: they have more homework every night and every activity has become more intense. And of course they don’t happen at the same time. While Mister Man is at Little Miss’s gymnastics, he has homework to do. When Little Miss is at Mister Man’s tae kwon do, she has homework to do. And oddly, they never seem to have everything they need to get it done. So I solved that problem.
No more excuses.
I made an on the go homework kit that now lives in the back of my car and could easily fit in the trunk of your car, as well. We have everything the wee ones could possibly need (except, granted, a computer or printer) to get homework done, and it’s making our lives a whole lot easier. We no longer have to beg or borrow the forgotten materials. They are able to do the homework much neater than they were previously thanks to the clipboard I bought and the notebook paper I now stock – no more writing on the side of a chair with a piece of borrowed yellow paper from a small legal pad.
What you put into your kit definitely depends on your child and on the homework that he regularly has, but you can figure it out. I had the vast majority of the materials I needed already at home. The only things I actually bought? The clipboard for $1.44. Another ruler for $1.27. And that was it. Everything else we have from previous school years’ supplies that came home or just sitting around.
To start, you need a container. I am currently using a 16 quart clear container, but a smaller size would work just as well. I happened to have this empty one at home, and I know that I have the room in my car for this size container.
Inside, you’ll want your basic school supplies – the pens or pencils your child needs to write, the crayons or markers or colored pencils needed for “special” projects, a glue stick, a ruler, and a notebook with lined paper. Depending on your child, you may also need a protractor (we do), a calculator (kids are expected to do mental math in our school so it isn’t in ours), a thesaurus or dictionary or atlas (yep again), and scissors (who knows – we have enough, so I tossed a pair in).
I also got smart. My children’s biggest “issue” when doing homework outside our house is that their pencils break. I’m not sure how this happens because I know how often they sharpen their pencils since we have an electronic sharpener, but this appears to only be an issue when we aren’t home. They can’t use that excuse anymore. Not only do I have extra pencils packed – including some that aren’t yet sharpened – but I put in a mechanical pencil for Little Miss who likes them. I also included two manual sharpeners, so that there is always a way to get a good tip on your pencil. And of course my children tend to need more erasers than what lasts at the top of their pencils, so in went two full size erasers, too.
We also love to use whiteboards to help explain some of the concepts that are confusing to the wee ones or practice things like spelling words or math problems and the like. I have a bunch of little whiteboards in our house along with thin dry erase markers, so I popped that in, too. I’m also a cheapskate when it comes to erasers for our whiteboards. I refuse to buy one when an old sock does just as well. Shockingly, we have a huge assortment of socks with no matches and/or holes sitting in our laundry room. Easy peasy.
Lastly, I included a game that they like to play. It’s a math facts practice game that does addition and subtraction or multiplication and division at various difficulty levels. It’s a great way to keep them occupied and entertained if they finish homework early. Of course, the wee ones also tend to travel everywhere with books, so they are welcome to grab a book from the car or their backpacks to read instead.
For less than $3, I put together a homework kit that ensures we have everything we need in one place. When I pulled it out for Mister Man yesterday at gymnastics, he gave me a weird look asking what it was. Once we started working with it, however, he was pleased as punch that we were able to work on his homework with fewer distractions. He was calmer and more focused, which made all our lives easier. And my sanity? It’s definitely worth more than $3. How about yours?